Jeremy Clarkson says Grand Tour co-stars haven’t visited farm
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Jeremy Clarkson, 61, announced plans back in September at a local meeting to turn the farm shop into a kitchen and restaurant serving meals. However, these plans have faced a recent setback as council planning officers in Oxfordshire do not think the planned restaurant should be built.
They are swamped with people.
Diddly Squat Farm, in Chadlington, is the subject of his Amazon Studios series, Clarkson’s Farm, making the area a massive new tourist destination.
Council planning officers have said that the restaurant would be out of keeping with the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
As previously said, in September Jeremy called a meeting with local people at the Memorial Hall in Chadlington after there was “gossip” in the village over the future of the farm shop.
He announced plans to turn the building into a kitchen and restaurant serving meals for £60 for two.
However, council documents state the building has since been used, without planning permission, as a cafe and a bar area.
Jeremy admitted since his new TV series became popular, visitors had “swamped” the village but said it led to increased trade for businesses.
The former Top Gear presenter told Jeremy Vine on his show: “There is more traffic, yes, but there is more business – the village shop is doing better, the cafe in the village, the pub in the village – they are all doing better.
“They are swamped with people but they are swamped with people spending money.”
If permitted the restaurant would serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week, between 8am and 3pm and 5pm to 10pm.
A total of 53 objections have been received by the council, with another 12 letters of support.
Chadlington Parish Council said it held a public meeting in November to decide its view on the “divisive and contentious” application but a vote was inconclusive.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England West Oxfordshire said any new restaurant would be a “major incursion” into the AONB and would “spoil the rural nature of the Upper Evenlode Valley”.
A West Oxfordshire District Council planning sub-committee will decide what to do on Monday.
The authority said it “recently” served Jeremy’s farm with a planning contravention notice after allegations that products sold in its shop were not grown, reared or produced on the farm, or from local producers.
If proved, that would be in contravention of a condition agreed when that was given planning permission in November 2019, the council said.
Speaking to the BBC in 2019, Jeremy said: “I really know I’m not doing anything wrong or anything that would hurt the village.”
At the time, West Oxfordshire District Council said the new buildings should reflect the “established character of the area”.
Also the site could be used for commercial film-making for nine months in any 27-month period.
Diddly Squat Farm was formerly part of the Sarsden estate, with Jeremy buying about a thousand acres in 2008 including Curdle Hill Farm.
After the local villager who looked after the land retired in 2019, Jeremy decided to try and farm the land himself.
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